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As ‘Alien: Covenant’ Disappoints, We Have to Ask: What Happens to Box Office When the Franchises Aren’t Enough?

With "Alien" and "Wimpy Kid," underperforming, this may be the summer where we find out what happens when franchises no longer carry the day.

alien covenant

“Alien: Covenant”

20th Century Fox / Screenshot

Fox’s Pyrrhic Victory

2oth Century Fox had four of the top eight grossing films this weekend. Credit their distribution with corralling sufficient theaters to give the entries a chance.

But other than the incredible staying power of “The Boss Baby” (a Dreamworks film they handle), it’s not a great result. Apart from the disappointing “Covenant” results, they failed to justify the hardly bargain-basement budget “Wimpy Kid,” which cost $22 million for a franchise with minor international appeal.

The initial three films appeared rapidly (2010-12), with diminishing results.  This time, it saw less than half of its worst-performing predecessor. “The Long Haul” won’t describe this series.

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Last up, the surprisingly strong opening for “Snatched” (aided greatly by Mother’s Day) gave hope that the new Amy Schumer comedy might get a decent run. Instead, it dropped 61 percent.

Everything Everything

“Everything, Everything”

“Everything, Everything” Punches the Young Adult Card

A girl trapped by an immune system disease is cut off from normal life, but it doesn’t keep her from having romantic feelings about the boy next door. This rare studio release with a black female director had a staggering 82 percent female audience (nearly $10 million gross alone), with a big turnout Friday night that didn’t translate into a great Saturday.

That suggests pent-up interest in similar stories, but not a lot of heft beyond normal interest. But the good news for Warner Bros. is this only cost them $10 million. Its fate is up in the air, with Memorial Day weekend and a likely reliance on above-average domestic gross making it less than guaranteed. Still, it’s another sign to studios that when in doubt, take a chance with female audiences and creative teams.

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

Holdovers

After several weeks of strong holds, the best this weekend was “The Boss Baby” down 38 percent. The woeful “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” dropped 55 percent, sealing its doom. It could struggle to hit $40 million. (“Alien: Covenant” says thanks for not making the drop there stand out more.)

When Sunday’s totals come in, there remains a chance that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” might steal #1 from “Covenant.” It trails by less than $1 million in estimates, thanks to a 46 percent drop. That’s better than the third weekend for Marvel’s early May 2016 release “Captain America: Civil War.” That might actually be the best news of the weekend.

Falling just out of the top 10 is Blumhouse Productions’ low-budget acquisition “Lowriders.” After a surprising seventh place showing in only 295 theaters, it fell 51 percent despite adding 70 more. Still a decent fill in for predominantly Latino theaters, but ultimately a modest take.

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